Catching Up

Tuesday, April 14
44676_Highway1OakCatching up again after more than a week. With most of our problems solved, we decided to stay in Pismo for a few more days. I couldn’t get in to see The Tire Man, Chuck Carvitto, and wife Sue, until Tuesday, April 14 (yesterday actually), so there was no need to leave just yet.44726_pismoEgretPismo is a great place to just chill. In the mornings and some afternoons, we walked along the beach for a couple of miles or explore the inlet. There is little wind in the morning and the beach smooth. Lots of interesting polished rocks and shells to be investigated.44730_pismoTracksSand dollars abound in quite large numbers. I was a little disturbed to watch a mother and son walking back to camp with both hands piled high with them. I though that wasn’t allowed on state and federal lands. Anyway, on the next mornings’ walk, we saw dozens more of them, so I guess not much to worry about there. This particular morning, we even found living Sand Dollars.
44743_pismoDollarHave you ever seen one move. Very slow and sort of in a spiral direction. The bottoms are covered in tiny feet that push them along. It looks like the try to burrow into the soft wet sand. The tops are also covered in tiny hairs. Pretty cool. Our walks sometimes led to the little beach town of Pismo, where we found great ice cream and saltwater taffy. Not to overly cutesy for an area like this.

Lots of sea birds along the surf line as well. We’ve seen cormorants, protected snowy plovers, egrets, curlews, and more. Afternoons were windy but bright.
44653_egret-44639_curlewGodwitSandpiper-44767_pismoplover44690_seaLionsWe took off another day to check out the elephant seal rookery up the coast a bit. It was it’s usual spectacle of undulating blubber as the creatures lumbered toward the surf. A docent informed us that we were in luck – we were just in time to see the daily migration of seals from high on the beach where it was too hot, to down in the surf line where it is juuusssst right – about 40 yards. The excitement for the day!44694_seaLions 44698_seaLions 44702_seaLionsThere was a nice assortment of wildflowers around the Hearst Castle area.44712_lupine 44718_lupine1On the way back, of course, we had to stop in San Simeon for a bit of wine tasting.

Saturday, April 11
A travel day that put us at the Bakersfield Desert Palms RV Resort for the night. Walk around the “Resort” a bit in the morning, playing with the palms, shadows, and RV’s in their spaces.
44777_RVpark2- 44773_RVpark1- 44791_BakeLDThen it was on to Red Rock State Park, where we plan to spend a couple of nights before our visit to Ridgecrest. It was very pleasant when we got to the campground in the early afternoon on Sunday. We lucked out with the only paved space that wasn’t reserved for disabled campers. The sites are quit well spaced, but the downside is drought caused water restrictions – RV’s are not allowed to take on water, and the dump is closed. But for 2 nights, not a problem. We set up quickly and sat outside enjoying the perfect temperature in the shade of the LD. After dark, I went out to make some night exposures of the Joshua Trees and stars.

Scouting locations for the night shoot.

Scouting locations for the night shoot.

44810_RedRock 44818_RedRock 44815_RedRockMonday, we got up early and did a rather disappointing dirt/4-wheel drive road. There was evidence of  past flowers, but only sparse examples remained. Back in camp, we doddled a bit since we didn’t need to be in Ridgecrest until late afternoon. We got there around 3 PM for our Tuesday appointment. Chuck was waiting, and actually said he could do most of the job then, and finish it tomorrow morning. We could be away a day early. So we gave him the keys, found the park in town to kill a few hours. On our return, Chuck was done! We were still able to hook up right there at the shop and spend the night.

Just a little more about Chuck. He will be retiring soon after 25 odd years as the Tire Man. He plans to continue suppling his brass tire stems online, so they will still be available through his website. Chuck in one of the rare ones. There is a level of service with him that, while some have come close, none can equal how he treats customers. We spent the night in his lot, and in the morning, he brought us lattes to start the day.

He is a wealth of knowledge and is happy to spend time talking about things he’s seen come into the shop. He showed us several examples of SOB tire stems – his competitors. They pale in quality. Yes, his cost more, but when you see how the others hold up (or not), you begin to understand why his are far better.

Sue has suffered some major health issues, and Chuck wants to be able to spend more time with her. At almost 70, Chuck admitted the work was getting too much for him. Who can argue with that.

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